I grew up in Modesto, California, drawing my surroundings with colored pencils, pens, and paper every day. My dad enjoyed the creative aspects of drywall contracting, and my mom occasionally dabbled in various media. Though I was equally passionate about both arts and sciences, my first job as a graphic designer guided me toward a formal education in Industrial Design. Cal State Long Beach introduced me to pastels to help illustrate product inventions on paper. This program blended classic art and engineering, requiring both 2D and 3D drawing and modeling skills to invent, render, and manufacture products. As computers were not yet common to the university at that time, I taught myself software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and formZ to help describe product concepts. I became the first undergraduate student to submit a computer modeled project despite the faculty resistance to the computer. Under the guidance of my favorite professor Michael Kammermeyer, I explored special topics in design methodology and design education which inspired an interdisciplinary paper Presenting the Immune System as a Model for Design. Working my way through college in the computer field, I helped teachers develop educational software to communicate abstract concepts in the classroom. After dozens of painful all-nighters with my competitive compadres, I graduated with honors from CSU Long Beach with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design in 1997.
My husband and I moved to the Sierra Foothills with our own computer software business, Hot Door. We created many products
specifically for artists and designers using Adobe Illustrator, including CADtools (a designer-friendly CAD program), Perspective
(perspective drawing tools) and Harmony (a Photoshop plug-in that helped users choose
color schemes based on the RYB color wheel). These products were inspired by our challenges with design education at the university. During this period I also started a furniture business and designed prototypes for modern living room furniture that accommodated computers. This business did not take flight due to manufacturing constraints in a struggling economy.
By 2001, I was a busy working mother yearning for creative, artistic expression. One afternoon, I unearthed some old pastels and paper from school to fill the blank walls. Within a few months I had sparked a new diversion, joined art clubs, and took painting workshops from Janis Ellison and Clark Mitchell that greatly improved my techniques and motivation. I discovered a passion for photography as I captured the landscape around me. I entered my Big Sur pastel painting and Nuzzling Foal photograph in the local county fair and received first place in each category. For a short time I was also a member of PSWC - Pastel Society of the West Coast.
Things changed after we moved to Laguna Beach in 2003. Although this is the home of plein air painting, I had little time for art and photography while working to pay the bills. I also became increasingly debilitated by chronic pain and focused on improving my health and autoimmune condition. The complexity of the human body and different systems of medicine were fascinating. I received certificates in nutrition, herbology, and massage within the Holistic Health Practitioner program at the Natural Healing Institute. I started creating online health reports featuring in-depth, technical discussions on challenging health conditions and public health issues.
The pendulum started to swing again after I took a class in wire sculpture with local artist James Koch. With the help of friend and artist Pat Cooper, I dabbled in jewelry-making and studied how gemstones were traditionally used for spiritual and metaphysical healing. In 2009-2010 I created wishfuls.com to showcase my jewelry and hosted local workshops teaching my special woven beading technique. My pieces were featured at Pure Light candle studios in Laguna Beach.
In 2011 I revisited art with oils, exploring the figure in the "style of the masters" under the instruction of Portland artist Joanne Licardo. Yet I could not resist the lure of plein air — on-location painting that captures something special about our surroundings. Over the past decade I have become inspired by sophisticated landscapes from Glenna Hartmann, urban expressions from April Raber, and large-scale realism from Todd Kenyon. A 2012 workshop from Clark Mitchell in southern Oregon rekindled my romance with pastels and the great outdoors, while a Portland Urban Sketchers workshop in watercolor introduced me to the fluid style of Marc Taro Holmes. By 2013 I tackled larger oil landscapes with local Laguna Beach master Michael Situ who shares my calm intensity.
By studying nature on paper or canvas, I stay at peace with the complexity of man-made problems I face at work. Most importantly, painting keeps me in touch with kindred souls who respect the beauty that surrounds us. Thank you to all who share in my journey!